Evolution in a band can either deter or excite fans, for Vampire Weekend and their newly developed sound it is the latter. The new sound along with their classic elevated indie rock was on full show at the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater in their return to touring.
Opening up the show was Soccer Mommy. Singer-songwriter Sophie Allison’s debut record Clean was one of the strongest of the past couple of years, highlighted by her deep lyricism, contagious hooks, and, in her own words, “chill but sad” songs. The band sounded stronger than ever and provided the entering audience with a look of what is to come from the indie rock genre. While the start of the decade was flooded with male–dominated bands, the past couple of years have seen an increase in female-led projects that are making waves and pushing the genre to new heights.
After a long 6 years, Vampire Weekend– with some shift of lineup and producer– released Father of the Bride, a sprawling 18-track record with elements of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and Grateful Dead jams, while keeping their identity and uniqueness. Touring on the heels of this record was a return to form. Vampire Weekend was one of the most dynamic and interesting bands of the 2000’s and they showed that they have not skipped a beat.
In a career-spanning set, for two and a half hours the crowd was treated to hits, B-sides, and everything in between. Adding a two keyboardist, a percussionist, and a downright shredder in Brian Robert Jones made the band sound fuller and better than ever. “Sunflower” off of FOTB produced one of the most inspired performances possible. They turned a great 2:18 song into an extended jam chock full of solos and improvised melodies.
For their encore, they turned to the crowd for requests. There are very few bands who can do that, and even though they had already run through 20 songs, there is no doubt that whatever would be played would be an amazing song.
There is comfort in knowing that some things never change. Ezra Koening is still one of the coolest dudes around, Chris Baio is still dancing like he is in the shower and sweating through his shirts, and Vampire Weekend still put on an amazing show.